President Donald Trump on Friday signed into the law the largest spending bill in Department of Veterans Affairs history, which includes funding for expanded caregiver and mental health benefits, facility upgrades, and veteran community care programs.
“We're fighting to make sure you get the care that you so richly earned,” Trump said during a signing ceremony at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System in Las Vegas, “and today's legislation is one more promise that the Trump administration is keeping.”
The VA appropriations bill provides more than $86 billion for discretionary programs and more than $110 billion in mandatory benefit payments. It includes several key provisions to benefit veterans, including expansion of mental health services and direct resources for care in rural communities.
The bill also provides funds related to the MOAA-supported VA MISSION Act, which will expand comprehensive caregiver services and provide money to modernize medical facilities. It also continues funding for programs that allow veterans to see private-sector doctors in their community if they cannot secure an appointment through the VA in a reasonable amount of time.
The bill also puts more than $1 billion toward the creation and maintenance of an electronic health record system.
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, who attended the bill signing, lauded the president for his efforts to continue fighting for quality health care for veterans.
“We are on the cusp of the greatest transformation period in the history of the VA,” Wilkie said. “We're beginning to put in place the Choice Act. The signing today gets us on that road.”Amanda Dolasinski is MOAA's staff writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMOAA.